News Briefs: Argentina’s Chief Rabbi Hospitalized After Assault and More

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Tween Arrested in NYC for Drawing Swastikas on Playground

New York City Police arrested a 12-year-boy Feb. 27 who draw multiple swastikas and anti-Semitic messages on a school playground, JTA reported.

The unnamed boy was charged with aggravated harassment. He was released to his mother.

A janitor at P.S. 139 in Queens discovered the chalked messages on Feb. 22. Those messages included “Hail Hitler” and “No Jews allowed,” according to reports.

“Truly unbelievable. I am shocked that a 12-year-old committed this crime. It’s completely unacceptable and has no place in our society,” Council Member Karen Koslowitz tweeted.

Mural in Los Angeles Under Fire as Anti-Semitic

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is Jewish, criticized a mural that shows the Grim Reaper wearing a garment adorned with Star of David while holding a dead baby and a missile, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“Imagery like this should have no place in our city,” Garcetti spokesman Alex Comisar said. “Mayor Garcetti was incredibly upset by it. We’re looking into the recourse that we have to have it taken down.”

The mural is painted on the Vortex, an event space in downtown Los Angeles. In a Facebook statement, the organization said the mural has been in place for several years to acknowledge 9/11 as part of an “L.A. vs. War” art show.

The Vortex said the artist “did not intend to express an anti-Semitic message,” but also said it “stands for free expression.”

Meantime, the Anti-Defamation League called for the mural to be removed.

“For a venue that purports to welcome the community, the Vortex should join us in condemning hateful imagery that invokes anti-Semitic canards,” the organization said in a statement.

Lakewood Hires First Orthodox Jewish Police Officer As Part of Diverse Class

The Lakewood, N.J., Police Department has hired its first Orthodox Jewish police officer, according to thelakewoodscoop.com.

The officer wasn’t named by the website, which said the department asked that new hires not be named until they complete a six-month police academy.

Police Chief Greg Meyer said the 13 officers were part of the most diverse class in the department’s history.

Lakewood, which counts about 100,000 residents, is heavily Jewish and has a large Orthodox population.

Chief Rabbi of Argentina Hospitalized After Assault in His Home

Argentinian Chief Rabbi Davidovich suffered nine broken ribs, damage to his lungs and facial bruising after being attacked at his Buenos Aires home Feb. 25 in what police are investigating as a possible anti-Semitic hate crime, The Algemeiner reported.

Davidovich, 62, was hospitalized after the attack.

He told police seven intruders attacked him and yelled “We know you are the AMIA rabbi,” referring to the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires. Davidovich’s wife was restrained and intimidated during the attack, but not physically harmed. The attackers stole money and other items before leaving.

A day earlier, seven graves in a Jewish cemetery in western Argentina were desecrated with Nazi symbols.

Jorge Knoblovits, president of the Argentine Jewish communal organization DAIA, called the attack on Davidovich an anti-Semitic act.

“In the world, there is a lot of room for ignorance, and where there is ignorance, there is space for anti-Semites,” he said.

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Andy Gotlieb is the managing editor of the Jewish Exponent. He holds 31 years of experience in communications, mostly in journalism, with a decade in public relations, too. Prior newspaper stops include the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the Tampa Tribune and the Philadelphia Business Journal. The first 17 years were spent in print journalism, where I covered, at various times, business, politics, crime and government, among other beats. The final 2.5 years in that stretch was an editor at the Philadelphia Business Journal, where my responsibilities included complete control over a weekly section and working with both staff writers and freelancers. In late 2005, I switched gears and began working in public relations for the next decade. I learned the ins and outs of public relations -- including being on the other side of the media-PR equation -- and made numerous contacts. I rejoined the ranks of journalism in March 2016, starting as the managing editor of the Jewish Exponent.

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